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The Kids' Movies That Got Us Through Adult Problems

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    Kids' movies can definitely be a kind of comfort food for adults. The Home Alone score can bring you back to a time when your biggest problem was your next math test. The Disney castle might remind you of drinking juice boxes in a blanket fort.

    But children's entertainment can offer adult viewers more than pure nostalgia feels. Those movies and TV shows can also spark real problem-solving inspiration. After all, kids' programming teaches the sort of life lessons the elementary school set needs to learn — the kind adults often need to be reminded of. The Harry Potter books have been shown to increase empathy — who knows what positive effects a rewatch of Toy Story could have?

    So the next time you have relationship woes or feel stuck in your job, it might be time to dust off a VHS (or visit Netflix's kids' section). Try Harriet the Spy for a confidence boost or Inside Out for reassurance that it's okay to feel sad. Watching them while enjoying a pack of Gushers isn't necessary, but it could help.

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    "Edna Mode in The Incredibles says, 'If you don't have a backup plan, you simply don't fall back.' That's why I didn't get a second major in college and have resisted grad school."

    — Kendra Augstin, Brooklyn, playwright and actress (which is why she'd "prefer the mystery" around her age)

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    "There's a scene [in Tangled] where Rapunzel finally leaves her tower and sees the outside world for the first time. She has a bunch of mood swings, simultaneously feeling excited for her future and guilty because of the oppression she faced her whole life. As a person with bipolar and borderline personality disorder, I felt it was something I could relate to that I hadn't really seen in a Disney film before."

    — Rachel Sather, 22, New York City, freelance writer

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    "Inside Out honestly made me realize (years later) that the fact that I wasn't a happy-go-lucky kid after I moved and went through puberty was okay. I had felt guilty about not being as happy as I was as a kid, even as a 24-year-old."

    — Rachel Leishman, 24, Brooklyn, sales assistant

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    "When I finished grad school, I couldn't find a job right away and it really was a hard time in my life. I felt really down and was wondering if I had made a mistake choosing journalism as a career path, instead of going to law school or something.

    "One night, when I was really down, I watched Harriet The Spy and it really resonated with me. For a big portion of the movie, people are furious with Harriet, her life is drastically changing, and she feels like she's made a huge mistake. But by the end, she learns that she loves writing and observing — and there's no one who can change that.
    It literally made me cry. Anyway, that movie made me believe I could do it if I stuck with it. And it all worked out!"

    — Ally Hickson, 29, New York City, associate editor, digital innovation

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    "Every time I'm down, I still watch The Lorax. It's my all-time favorite pick-me-up. It makes me really believe that I can change the world!"

    — Emily Curl, 24, New York City, associate video producer